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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

"Dreams" and The Freshman Experience

By Drew Brown, Scene Editor

David Seal discusses dream images with his freshman class.

"I want their imaginations engaged and trained," said English professor David Seal, summing up what he wants his freshman students to get from his writing course called "Dreams."

"Reason and faith are complemented by active imaginations," Seal said. "It's good that first-year students begin to understand that, and begin by seeing the power of the imagination in their own psyches."

"Dreams" is a Freshman Writing Seminar-one of three courses required as part of The Freshman Experience, a program that prepares students for life in college and beyond. The Freshman Experience classes focus on a variety of questions: How can you get off to the best start in college? How do we cope with the emotional and physical realities of life? How can you learn to best balance a professional life based on a lifetime of service? The main question asked in Seal's class is: What do dreams and images mean, and how can I use them to power my creative and intellectual imagination?

"I like a lively class, one that moves into unexpected areas at times, because that keeps the students interested and intrigued," Seal said. The key to PLU's program is to prepare students for the four-year journey that will have them learning and thinking critically, serving as active participants in the community, traveling abroad to study, putting their skills to practical use in internships, and summing up their learning in senior Capstone projects.
In Critical Conversation seminars, students learn through leading a group discussion, making formal and individual presentations and engaging in public debates.

Freshman J-Term courses, students work closely with their peers on a specific topic-some take "hands on" courses like "January on the Hill."

The Writing Seminar component, which Seal's "Dreams" course is a part of, students learn to think like a writer in various disciplines, and how to look at issues from multiple perspectives.

"In class, we have a lot of fun. We start by listening to dreams and interpreting them," Seal said. "Gradually, they begin to see how powerful images are. And, by extension, how important the imagination is to all of us."

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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